Across Sussex with Belloc
In the Footsteps of 'The Four Men'
by Bob Copper
Published by Alan Sutton Publishing
SUSSEX BOOK REVIEW
This is a must-read book for lovers of Sussex. Across Sussex with Belloc is a book where two of the great noters of Sussex culture coincide.
Bob Copper (1915-2004), the great collector and singer of Sussex songs, was described by the Independent as "England's most important traditional folk-singer". In his later years he wrote several good books about Sussex too.
In Across Sussex with Belloc, Bob Copper retraces the famous journey across Sussex taken by Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953). Belloc was possibly the best writer about Sussex there has ever been.
Classic Sussex BooksMore classic old books about the people and history of West Sussex.
But unlike some writers, there's only a small sense of regret at the coming of modern times to Sussex.
You get the strong sense that nothing is going to spoil Bob Copper's day.
While Belloc's journey was in the company of three imaginary companions - the Sailor, the Poet and Grizzlebeard - Bob Copper only has himself for company as he walks the ancient lanes of Sussex in Belloc's footsteps. But he runs into all sorts of interesting Sussex folk along the way - some of them strangers and some old friends.
If at times these meetings seem a little contrived it really doesn't matter - it just adds further colour to the walk.
And there's a lot of colour.
Across Sussex with Belloc is full of secret places, old stories, country lore, folk songs and village pubs.
What I like best about the book is the relaxed and meandering approach which Bob Copper takes - both to the journey and to the subject matter.
When he wants to make a detour, he takes it.
When he wants to write a poem, he writes it.
When he wants to stop for a pint, he stops for a pint.
And if he wants to break into song, then there's no stopping him.
A really lovely book.
Book reviewed by Mark Hoult, West Sussex.info
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